June 10, 2020
Looking to gain valuable experience in a meaningful field? Here at Li-Cycle we strive to provide a continuous learning environment for our co-op students. We believe that keeping our co-op students actively engaged in projects that they are actually interested in will contribute to a better experience and overall success with the Li-Cycle team. In order to get some insight into the co-op experience at Li-Cycle, we asked our current and former co-op students some questions about their experience, their work habits, challenges they may have faced, and more! We truly value our co-op students, and we believe this is reflected in the following answers.
What was your focus in your role at Li-Cycle?
Ryan: In my role I worked with multiple teams for different purposes. I got to broaden my experience with event/travel planning, sharpen my web-design skills, work with marketing materials, work on my passion for sustainability, and much more.
Olga: I had the opportunity to work on many different aspects of the design, development, and construction of the pilot plant. I got really valuable experience in process modelling, equipment selection and procurement, as well as project management during the plant’s construction and integration stage.
Payton: I had a variety of focuses during my time working on the Business Development and Operations team, including securing battery supply, account management, logistics, government funding reporting and advising software development.
Ajani: I was fortunate to have worked on a variety of technical aspects including process modelling, aiding in the engineering design, procurement and construction of the Commercial Spoke 2 facility in Rochester and completing environmental permitting activities for both commercial spokes.
What work habits would you say were essential in getting the job done in your role?
Ryan: Time management, revision of work, to do lists, prioritization of important tasks, and seeking clarification when needed.
Olga: Communicating with the team and understanding what to prioritize, bringing up any concerns or questions early on, being able to focus, and documenting reasonings/ assumptions in all design decisions as much as possible
Stefan: Communication, both within the business development team but also with the engineering department when technical input was needed for various grant applications.
Ajani: Task prioritization. I approached this mainly by writing to-do lists at the beginning of each day with all of my tasks, estimating the time it would take me to complete them and prioritizing them accordingly.
What’s your favourite part about working for Li-Cycle?
Ryan: My favourite aspect of my role was the ability to work on special projects. For example, I got to follow my passion for sustainability with a project on the company’s corporate CO2 footprint.
Payton: One of my favorite things about working for Li-Cycle is the dynamism, both in the company and within my role. It’s exciting that even over a relatively short work term, so much has changed and evolved and you can really see the results of everyone’s hard work. I feel like my interests and what I want out of my job and career are truly cared about, it’s not just about getting the job done. Co-op positions at Li-Cycle are not about taking on the small and/or tedious tasks that nobody else wants to do; you learn so many valuable soft and hard skills that prepare you and set you up successfully for your future career.
Stefan: My favorite part about working for Li-Cycle has been the opportunity to join at the early stages when the company was only around 6 people and be a part of its continual growth into what it is today and what we are aiming to become in the future.
Ajani: My favourite thing about working for Li-Cycle is the company culture. Overall, the culture is friendly, accommodating and results driven. I especially like that the co-op roles at Li-Cycle often have as many responsibilities as full-time employees. This makes the co-op experience much more challenging and rewarding.
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of the job?
Ryan: Since this was my first co-op experience, many aspects of the job were very new to me. Because of this, I would say that creative problem solving applied across all my tasks because sometimes it was difficult to find solutions to the problems I faced. Therefore, the importance of continuous learning and seeking help/clarification when needed was crucial.
Olga: There are many different work streams going in parallel and it takes a lot of focus and good documentation to make sure that nothing falls behind.
Payton: Prioritization, taking on significant responsibilities that I haven’t had to before in the workplace (ie. long-term or high stake projects), developing clear, professional and concise communication skills
Ajani: As the company changes and grows quickly, many tasks and new challenges surface every day. The toughest part of the job was adapting to this dynamic environment and being able to manage and prioritize new responsibilities.
What gets you the most excited about Li-Cycle’s future?
Ryan: Worldwide electrification is essential to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the impact of climate change. What gets me excited about Li-Cycle’s future is that we have an opportunity to meet the increasingly growing demand for battery materials (required for electrification) in a sustainable fashion through resource recovery. I look forward to seeing Li-Cycle play a large role in this vision of a cleaner future, directly contributing to worldwide sustainability.
Olga: There’s a lot of focus on creating a global presence here at Li-Cycle, and the potential to reach that level of growth is something that I find very exciting. Also, the growth of the battery recycling industry is very closely tied with the viability of electric vehicles, and it’s awesome to be a part of that.
Payton: I think the fact that Li-Cycle is so rapidly expanding and achieving targeted goals is very exciting. The business was created and accelerated at a very opportune time, and I think the timing and pace have led to huge advantages in the industry. I think Li-Cycle is developing the best way to handle end-of-life lithium-ion batteries, from both sustainability and economic viability standpoints, and will continue to be a very successful business as it grows.
Stefan: I’m excited about Li-Cycle’s future because it is becoming clear that lithium-ion batteries will continue to play a foundational role in the fight against climate change thanks to their role in a number of clean technologies such as EVs and renewable energy generation. As such, I’m confident Li-Cycle has positioned itself well to meet the inevitable demand for handling these batteries as they gradually reach the end of their useful lives, and in doing so Li-Cycle will be making an enormously positive impact on our planet’s health by providing the most sustainable solution to this challenge. I’m excited to help that cause.
Why did you decide to return upon graduation
Olga: Working at Li-Cycle is a great fit for me as I studied chemical engineering and am passionate about sustainability. While working here, I get to apply what I’ve learned in class to a global sustainability issue and help create a circular economy for valuable battery materials.
Stefan: I decided to return to Li-Cycle because of the clear fit between my role and my desire to work toward making the world a healthier place in whatever way I can. I also have had an excellent experience with my fellow co-workers and thoroughly enjoy the work environment on a daily basis (working from home changes that a bit for the time being but previously the office environment was awesome).
As seen from the student feedback, if you are looking for a dynamic and challenging co-op work environment where you can work on projects with the aim to change an industry, then Li-Cycle may be the place for you. Keep an eye out on your school’s careers page for future co-op opportunities!
Li-Cycle Corp. (Li-Cycle) is on a mission to leverage its innovative technology to provide a customer-centric end-of-life solution for lithium-ion batteries and create a secondary supply of critical battery materials. Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are increasingly powering our world in automotive, energy storage, consumer electronic and other industrial and household applications. The world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better manage the end-of-life of these batteries, and to meet the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials through a closed-loop solution.
Li-Cycle Technology™ is an economically viable, safe, and environmentally friendly process that can recycle all types of lithium-ion batteries. It can do so with an unparalleled recovery rate of 80-100% of all materials. The company’s industry-leading processing technologies uniquely position it to be a key player in supporting the growing international movement towards zero carbon technologies and creation of a circular economy for lithium-ion batteries.